Land Purchase Expands Local Park

There is good news for one of the area’s popular swimming holes. One of the longest cave systems in the United States is getting even longer.

Rod Whetstone and his friends come to Peacock Springs State Park in Suwannee County from Pennsylvania and Maryland every year. Thanks to a huge land purchase, the places where they say they learned to scuba dive will more than double in size.

"It's a nice place,” said Whetstone. “It's convenient to where we're staying and it's a very large cave. We saw new places today that we didn't see before and we're going to see new places this afternoon that we didn't see this morning."

Divers from around the world visit the 277 acre state park year-round.

Governor Jeb Bush and the cabinet just approved the purchase of 481 acres of land to expand Peacock Springs.

Scuba Diver Tracy Simon, from Vermont says, "That's great. If they're talking about putting in a million RV camper pads that would kind of change the nature of the park. Hopefully they're going to keep it wild like it is now with a minimum amount of change."

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection says the expansion will not change the quality of the park. It says visitors will just have more space for hiking, swimming, picnicking, and more diving in the park's 28,000 feet of underwater passage.

A D.E.P. spokesperson says the expansion should start within a few months.